Wave Sciences announces two patents that enable smart speakers to hear better in noise

The US Patent and Trademark Office has informed Wave that it is issuing two patents for its novel, mechanical approach to helping smart speakers hear better in noisy conditions. The invention drew inspiration from the acoustic mirrors carved into England’s White Cliffs of Dover during the early days of World War II. Microphones were placed on a shelf below the acoustic mirrors, which were half-parabolas, to hear approaching German bombers from across the English Channel and sound the alarm. Warping the half-parabola shape of the Cliffs into a ring and then engineering the curvature and other dimensions appropriately to focus sound on a ring-shaped array of microphones led to a structure that helps popular smart speakers (you know the ones) work better in noise and from further away. And they also help the speakers sound better too!

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A light bulb that helps you hear

Wave Sciences’ patent for visible light communications to enable businesses to easily comply with American Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements for accommodating individuals with hearing loss is now available on line at the following link:

http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO1&Sect2=HITOFF&d=PALL&p=1&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsrchnum.htm&r=1&f=G&l=50&s1=10,341,017.PN.&OS=PN/10,341,017&RS=PN/10,341,017

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A visible light communications patent for audio applications

The US Patent and Trademark Office has issued a utility patent to Wave Sciences for a visible light communications (VLC) audio system using compact fluorescent light (CFL) and light emitting diode (LED) bulbs. Individuals with hearing loss are expected to benefit from this innovative way to listen to recorded or live audio without the interference and fading issues of radio frequency technologies. Businesses open to the public are expected to likewise benefit from an affordable and convenient path to ADA compliance.

Wave has propagated to new locations

Wave Sciences has “graduated” from the Charleston Digital Corridor’s Flagship 2 location and is now open for business at 151 King Street in historic downtown Charleston. If you are in the area, please drop by for a cup of coffee or tea and a chat about hearing technology.

In addition to moving our company headquarters, we’ve also opened a satellite office in the Beaufort Digital Corridor in historic Beaufort, SC. We look forward to getting to see our Beaufort, Hilton Head, Bluffton, and Savannah colleagues more frequently!

Are smart textiles ready for the real world?

Advanced Textiles Source mentioned Wave Sciences' advances in consumer hearing in a recent article on smart textiles (link): 

“Our garment is a hands-free, discreet solution to hearing-in-noise—nobody knows you are wearing it. Currently, all of the electronics are removable for laundering the garment, but we are moving to the next step in our development where everything but a small, detachable module is washable,” he says. “It will feel like a common undergarment.”

“We can make hearing ten times better,” McElveen continues. “If someone needs to be within two and a half feet to easily have a conversation within a coffee shop, we let them hear their order being called out by the barista across the room, 25 feet away. That changes peoples’ daily lives.”

How a smart garment can solve the most troublesome issues with hearing aids

When hearing aid users are asked what issues they have with their hearing aids, they report the most troubles with:

  • Hearing in noisy places, such as coffee shops, restaurants, and airplanes
  • Wind noise
  • Squealing (from electronic feedback, particularly in noisy conditions)

Given reports that only 1 in 5 people who could benefit from a hearing aid actually uses one, it is important that these issues be addressed.

This is where smart garment technologies can help. Smart garments are showing up in hospitals and gyms where they are used to measure, record, and report one's heart rate, respiration, and other information.

Wave Sciences has pioneered applying smart garment technology to hearing. Imagine using a t-shirt, camisole, or other garment to "tailor" the sounds around you to fit your needs by "cutting out" the sounds you don't want to hear and "padding" the ones you do - and then automatically working with your hearing aid or ear bud to present your custom-tailored sounds.

Real hearing aid users that have tried our prototype devices said they were "amazing", "natural sounding", and "life changing". We are hard at work on consumer versions so that you can  experience how life changing hearing without issues can be.